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Full text of "A history of Persia"

SHORT-LIVED ZAND DYNASTY       383
adherents, he laid siege to Darabjird, but a Kajar army
forced him to retreat on Tabas, whose chief advised him
to seek the support of Timur Shah, the Durrani Amir.
He followed this advice, and was actually travelling towards
Kandahar when news reached him of the death of the
Afghan Amir.
The Final Act of the Drama, A.H. 1208 (1794).—While
hesitating what course to pursue, the Zand refugee received
letters from two chiefs of Narmashir offering him their
support. He hastened to accept this opportune proposal
and determined to surprise Kerman with the men he was
able to collect. Moving by forced marches, he detached
his uncle Abdulla Khan to make a feint on one side of
the city, and when the defenders* attention was fully
occupied he escaladed the fort before the alarm could be
given. The garrison fought stoutly, but was overcome,
and Kerman fell to Lutf Ali Khan through this brilliant
feat of arms.
Aga Mohamed realized the seriousness of the situation,
and with all the troops he could muster advanced to fight
what proved to be the la$tr campaign against his rival.
Some four miles to the west df" Kenyan lies the entrenched
camp which formed the headquarters of the besiegers.
For four months the heroic Lutf Ali held out in the city,
until famine had cut off more than half its inhabitants.
At length the Kajar troops were admitted by treachery,
but were beaten back. But they were admitted again,
and on this occasion in overwhelming force. Seeing that
all was lost and that the city gates were guarded, Lutf
Ali, after keeping up the fight until dark, crossed the
ditch on planks by night with only three followers, and
breaking through the cordon escaped to Bam, one hundred
and twenty miles to the east.
A brother of the chief of Bam had been among the
supporters of Lutf Ali in Kerman, and, having no news
of this brother, the chief came to the conclusion that he
must have fallen into the hands of the Kajars. He
decided in consequence to attempt to win the favour of
Aga Mohamed by seizing his guest, who, though warned
of his danger, refused to believe in the possibility of such